For cyclists, the main issue is safety. Cyclists are knocked off their bikes and hurt all the time, usually by people opening their car door without looking, or turning left without checking properly in the mirror. They say cycling isn’t just the preserve of a few fanatics. Far more people would cycle if it were safe to do it, and the raised kerb segregating the cycle lane would protect them.
Though not all cyclists want the proposed cycle way as it is currently proposed, there are many who live locally who also enjoy wandering along the High Rd pottering and shopping. They’re not the ‘lycra louts’ who flash past, head down, commuting in to town and they don’t want to see High Rd businesses ruined either.
Hounslow Cycling Campaign, the main group in the area which represents cyclists, gives their response to the points raised on their website – Myths, mistakes and misleading people: the last chance of the Chiswick councillors
Here also they give a fuller point by point rebuttal – Myths, mistakes and misleading people part 2 (the press release)
Hounslow Cycling Campaign’s main points
They say a cycle lane hardly amounts to ‘devastating plans’. What TfL started out calling the Cycle Superhighway and the councillors persist in calling it, is in fact just ‘A bike lane with a kerb to protect people from motor vehicles’. They argue that although the councillors profess to want safer cycling: ‘The councillors have failed to provide any proposals to enable safer cycling along Chiswick High Road’ and moreover They provided no input on a “local cycling scheme” for the Borough Transport Strategy. They did not support a Liveable Neighbourhoods bid (which has subsequently received funding) which would stop residential streets being used as rat runs.
Far from TfL ignoring residents’s comments during the consultaion, they published a Response document which runs to 139 pages, They deny that the bike lane will be bad for business and have collected evidence to support this view. They say that to claim the pavements will be ‘removed’ is misleading and point to TfL traffic modelling which predicts a reduction in most journey times.
They point out that Chiswick High Rd is already a single carriage-way at some points and that while three mature trees will be lost in the construction of the cycle lane, there are also plans to plant six trees – a net gain of six. One tree has already been removed because its roots fractured a water main.
‘The councillors previously claimed that TfL figures showed pollution would increase. This was factually incorrect. The councillors now claim that CW9 “fails to address” air quality. This claim is based upon data in a TfL air pollution report showing no significant change in pollution. This analysis assumes no change in how people will travel in order to establish a baseline for comparison with today. Anyone cycling instead of taking a polluting mode of transport will be helping to address air pollution’.
Hounslow Cycling Campaign rejects the idea that cycle lanes are dangerous for pedestrians and criticises the councillors for failing to point out that the proposed cycle way 9 would reduce rat-running through residential streets. They also point out that to say the cycle way will be both “stop/start” and “high speed” is contradictory.
What the councillors don’t say
‘The councillors don’t say if they are concerned about the current high level of cyclists casualties along Chiswick High Road and they haven’t produced any proposals to address this.
‘The councillors don’t say if they are concerned about climate change and the future of the planet and what their proposals are to enable more zero carbon transport.
‘The councillors don’t say why Chiswick shops have already been closing at a rate of over one per month. It isn’t because of a bike lane that hasn’t been built yet.
‘The councillors don’t say what their proposals are to enable healthier choices for people travelling.
‘The councillors don’t say that pollution has decreased along existing cycle routes.
‘The councillors don’t say anything positive about the benefits of enabling more people to travel safely on bikes.
‘Nothing about taking kids to school, getting more people shopping locally, getting fitter while commuting to work or other benefits.
‘Considering all the issues they could address, it is highly disappointing that the Chiswick councillors are spending so much time and effort just to try and stop a bike lane’.